Thomas Berding
(517) 335-7621

316 Kresge Art Center
600 Auditorium Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824

FacultyArt, Art History, and Design



Thomas Berding was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and received a BA from Xavier University and an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design. Prior to his appointment at Michigan State University, he taught at Dartmouth College, Indiana University, and Southwest Missouri State University. He has also served as a Visiting Artist/Critic at over 25 institutions.

A practicing studio artist, Berding’s paintings have been recognized with awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and the NEA /Mid America Arts Alliance. His work has been the subject of recent solo exhibitions at the University of Maine Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, and The Painting Center in New York. In 2016, Oakland University Art Gallery in metro Detroit mounted a survey of the last decade of Berding’s work which was accompanied by a major catalog. Over his career, he has exhibited his work at many venues including the David Klein Gallery, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Nelson-Atkins Museum, Rochester Institute of Technology, Indiana University, Art Chicago International Art Fair, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Carnegie Mellon University, Savannah College of Art and Design, and Rhode Island School of Design Museum among many others.

Berding’s essays on painting have also been published and he has been a frequent presenter at the College Art Association, where he has also served as a member of the Professional Practices and Services to Artists Committees. In 2010, Berding was one of five MSU faculty and administrators selected as a CIC (Big Ten and University of Chicago) Academic Leadership Fellow by the Office of the Provost.

Artist Statement

Over the last number of years, my studio practice has been dedicated to exploring the seemingly endless sense of surplus that surrounds and defines many aspects of our contemporary existence. Drawing from conceptual and material structures and systems which linger beyond their intended use, I aim to give vision to a world where new connections are continually being forged and new associations made.

In many ways, both, the history of abstract painting with its encrypted images and performative character, and DIY aesthetics with its notions of reuse and chronic reexamination of value are constant forces in my studio. These forces are multiplied further by the generative and destabilizing processes that characterize my painting practice. As a result, the project of painting seems less about imaging something already settled, and more about participating in the creation of a world that is in a continual state of being rebuilt and reimagined. 

Media Mentions

University News

Art, Art History, and Design Faculty Triennial Exhibit Runs Through July 21 at MSU Broad
Published February 5, 2024 in College of Arts & Letters
The works of 22 Department of Art, Art History, and Design (AAHD) faculty are now on display through July 21, 2024, at the MSU Broad Art Museum as part of an exhibition that highlights the diverse,…Read now »
No Hands, No Limits, No Problem for Graduating Studio Art Senior
Published December 11, 2018 in College of Arts & Letters
a women with long dark hair wearing a white smock painting a picture with no hands
Born with no hands and missing her big toes and supporting bones on each foot, Kathryn Bailey hasn’t allowed her quadrilateral limb deficiency to keep her from living a “normal” life and…Read now »
2016 New Full Professors
Published November 10, 2016 in College of Arts & Letters
msu faculty graphic that says "congratulations full professors 2016"
On November 17, Michigan State University will recognize three new professors to the College of Arts & Letters at the University Promotion and Tenure Ceremony Dinner. Please join us in…Read now »